Living with PTSD from Sexual Assault: A True Story

According to Google, the definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event, that can last months to years.

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As someone currently living with PTSD from sexual assault, the simplest of things can trigger memories causing me to relive my trauma.

 

In 2017  I was recently out of a relationship, just started college and had to make new friends. After a month I met who I thought was the “ideal” person for me through my best friend at Midnight Bingo. I was too shy to speak to him so I did not get his name, number, or Snapchat. Weeks went on and I thought I missed my chance until he popped up randomly one day when I was with my friend and invited me to a party… but only me. She told me it was fine because she and her boyfriend were going to hang out anyway and that she wanted “her two best friends hanging out”.

 

Because of this night, just thinking of New Amsterdam, Blue Voltage Mountain Dew, U-Gates or even just mango flavored things triggers memories back.

 

Back to where I thought I could trust someone to walk me safely back to my freshman dorm without having to worry that this person would shove their hands down my pants as we walked up to the hill. It brings back memories of me complaining about my roommate in which he replied: “let me spend the night just to piss off your roommate”. All I remember hearing was let’s piss off your roommate. I hate to say but months went by and this continued. At this point, even seeing my best friend triggered memories, even though I love her with all my heart.

 

These feelings led to frequent anxiety attacks. If I took the stairs in the stair tower I got anxious because that’s where our night began and where I was blacked out. I still can’t remember all that happened that night. I can’t play midnight bingo without thinking about how you forced me to touch you when I just wanted to hold your hand. Memories rush back to when I asked you if my overall straps were even and you grabbed my breast instead and laughed.

 

I now get triggered by my favorite event in my hometown, because when we were with my family you put your hand through the top of my shirt when I was just singing Mr. Brightside by the Killers.

 

PTSD causes emotional changes to the person experiencing the trauma, and in 2017 I changed. I am not the girl I used to be. I do not trust anyone, I never go out unless I am capable of getting myself to and from without the assistance of anyone. I now look out for every girl at every party because I don’t want her to live with this trauma as I do. Dealing with PTSD is difficult, I for one have yet to speak to a counselor because I used to be scared of reaching out and speaking out about this night, but even just talking about it in this article has helped me get one foot in the right direction. Many people living with PTSD tend to seek counseling and they should! It is a great and highly encouraged form of healing.

 

I have lived, learned and grown from this assault. I have a strong friend group who help me as I am still recovering and will be until I graduate when most of these triggers will be gone.

 

I am NOT a victim. I am a survivor.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or from anything here is some important information:

PSU Crisis Line: 1-877-229-6400

Crisis Text Line:  Text LIONS to 741741

Behrend Police and safety: 814-898-6101

Safe Harbor Behavioral Health: 814-456-2014

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Boys Town National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)